Saving The Earth is Part of The Present

Even the mildly conservation-minded person looks with some degree of horror at the mounds of gift-wrap stuffed into black trash bags and hauled out to the curb on Christmas morning. The trees that died for all that waste are mourned. Still, no one wants to be grandmotherly, admonishing gift recipients to open packages without tearing the paper, so she can fold it up and reuse it next year. That simply squelches the joy of ripping into anticipated surprises disguised within the boxes and bows.

Perhaps the eco-friendly answer to this age-old conundrum is to use recycled or re-purposed packaging for the holidays or any gift-giving event. At the very least, use papers from sustainable resources. Stylishly saving the planet Earth becomes part of the present. If you need some ideas to jump-start the creative juices, try a few of the strategies below.

Map the Wrap

Why not use those old road maps stuffed in the car’s glove compartment? With GPS to give guidance these days, those maps rarely get pressed into service and the blues, greens, reds and yellows certainly make a cheerful presentation. Yard sales and antique stores are great places to pick up additional maps of all kinds for very little cash.

Box It

Never cast off a perfectly good cardboard box. Clear out a corner shelf in a closet and collect empty boxes from mail order purchases. When gift giving rolls around, the right-sized box is bound to be in the stash. Tape it shut with designer duct tape and tie with a pretty bow. The recipient will be wowed by so much ingenuity and resourcefulness.

Let Kids Create

Packing paper from mail order purchases deserves a second life as well. Usually, the white or off-white paper is tucked around the item and looks like a wad of trash. However, it unfolds and unravels into large sheets perfect for a child Picasso. Let the kids colour it, paint it, stamp it or sticker it to fashion their own wrapping paper. Grandma will be clamouring to rescue it from the piles of gift-wrap, but not because she wants to reuse it next year. She will have it framed and hanging in the kitchen by Valentine’s Day.

Reuse Those Remnants

Fabric scraps from past projects can be converted to very elegant wrapping alternatives. Truly adventurous artisans can quilt pieces together to form a large fabric wrap or sew them into drawstring sacks of various sizes. For a simple but an attractive wrap, cut a fabric scrap into a square, gather it around the gift and tie it off with a length of cording.

Banana Fiber Paper

For the diehards who thrill over pretty colors that reflect the occasion, banana fiber paper is a great alternative to regular wrapping papers. No tree gives its life for this paper. Instead, by-products of the banana industry are used to manufacture it. This striking, acid-free paper is made from banana stems left over from the harvest and from fruits that could not be sent to market. Made from sustainable resources with low environmental impact, it has a beautiful, high-quality appearance to please the most discerning taste.


Pearce Corbin is a contributor to many DIY and home improvement sites around the net and works for MyProjectorLamps

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